Youth urge IMO to act now to cut shipping emissions


Despite pressure from campaigners, which was strongly felt within the negotiation, the 'usual suspects' delay, yet again, the commitment to cut down carbon emission in shipping. The decision whether to regulate ships speed is on hold until next year. Read more here

At the UN International Maritime Organization negotiations behind closed doors about global shipping emissions were opened up to the voice of the youth climate strike movement! The video above includes some of Noga Levy-Rapoport’s speech as delivered to delegates, with clips of protest actions outside. Text of Noga's speech below.

Every one of the delegates from around the world also received a gift of a paper boat made by children with a message asking them to act on the climate emergency. Most came from local children but we also received boats from as far away as Bali, and young people in Fiji sent a solidarity message (pictures below)

Inside the IMO...


Some of the boats gathered together...

Full text of Noga's speech:

Good morning everyone. My name is Noga Levy-Rapoport. CSC has kindly included me on their delegation so that I could attend this important meeting, and I would like to say a few words on behalf of the UK Student Climate Network, the group organising the school strikes across the country. 

We are living in a crisis. We are in an emergency, a catastrophe of volatile, terrifying proportions, and you are catalysing it. And my generation looks on, your children look on, and mourn for the futures you continue to steal from us with your refusal to drastically reduce ship GHG emissions. 

What have you got to show for  twenty years of talk? A weak new ship design standard and a decarbonisation objective that’s not ambitious enough. But you forget that no one cares what costumes you wear or what your make up looks like when the stage is crumbling. You’ve used up your rehearsal time, and now it’s time to get on what is left of our stage and act. 

When you promise your child you will help them with their homework in the afternoon, you help. When you promise your partner you will clean the house when you get back, you clean. When you promise your boss you will come in on time tomorrow, you come in on time. We are your bosses, your partners and friends, your children. The deadline has been set. The promises have been made; in Paris, in Kyoto, you have signed and spoken and agreed. Don’t let those promises be empty. Don’t fail your children because you refused to change. 

We have 11 years. 

Adults always tell us that as you get older, time seems to pass more quickly, and the days are ever more precious. So why is it that thousands, millions of young people recognise that the last grains of sand in our hourglass are slipping through, and you cannot? Why do we feel the urgency, the dread of societal collapse, mass starvation, and the threat of total extinction, every single day - whilst you do nothing, allowing your industry to help plunge us into an apocalypse? 

Shipping emissions make up almost 3% of our global emissions, as much as Germany or Japan does. I travelled to Germany a few weeks ago, to join the strikers there, and I want to visit Japan one day. I want to make new friends and be a tourist and go with my family on holiday. But I can’t do that when the world is in chaos. I can’t do that if you don’t change. 

You have agreed on the answer, on the solution to a problem we should have never had to face. You have said, we can reduce ship GHG emissions. But not now. Not just yet. We need more time. But I’m not here to give you that time; no one can. Because we don’t have it.  

I’m here because when I strike, I’m striking for all of us. I’m striking for my friends, and my teachers, and my family, for my dad, who loves ships & boats, and for my sister, who won’t be an adult when our time is up. I’m striking for the children who made the paper boats you see in front of you. Children who know that you are on the wrong side of history, and who are asking you to change. 

Change your outlook on our future, and see it not just as your future, but as your children’s future, the future of your dad and your sister. See it as my future, and as our planet’s future, and your industry’s future. Stop thinking about 2050, and start thinking about 2030, because that’s when our time is truly up. Urgent action is needed now to reduce emissions; reducing shipping speeds does that. Reduce them by at least 10%, and then aim for more. You’ve got your work cut out for you. But think of it as making up for the time we lost when you didn’t do enough to change. 

I’m seventeen years old. I’m a child. I’m not a shipping expert. I don’t have a degree and I don’t sit on a board or a committee that makes useless and empty promises, complicating the matter so much that you can’t see the obvious answer, the solution that will save our planet. It’s simple enough for a child to understand, so do it. Prove that you can pass this simple, clear cut test on your conscience, and your morality. 

Lives rest in your hands. Futures are snatched away with every churn of your ships’ motors, too fast for our planet to handle. To speed up your climate action, you must slow your ships down.